Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 13, 2022

The Failure Of This Week's US-NATO-Russia Meetings Make War More Likely

In the late 1990s the U.S. military-industrial-media complex lobbied the Clinton administration to extend NATO. The sole purpose was to win more customers for U.S. weapons. Russia protested. It had offered to integrate itself into a new European security architecture but on equal terms with the U.S. The U.S. rejected that. It wanted Russia to subordinate itself to U.S. whims.

Since then NATO has been extended five times and moved closer and closer to Russia's border. Leaving Russia, a large country with many resources, outside of Europe's security structure guaranteed that Russia would try to come back from the miserable 1990s and regain its former power.

In 2014 the U.S. sponsored a coup against the democratically elected government of the Ukraine, Russia's neighbor and relative, and installed its proxies. To prevent an eventual integration of the Ukraine into NATO Russia arranged for an uprising against the coup in the eastern Ukraine. As long as the Ukraine has an internal conflict it can not join NATO.

In 2018 the Trump administration withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty which had been created under the Presidents Gorbachev and Reagan to eliminate nuclear missiles in Europe. Now the U.S. made plans to station new nuclear missiles in Europe which would threaten Russia. These required a Russian response.

Meanwhile the U.S. and other NATO states have deployed significant 'training' units to the Ukraine and continue to send weapons to it. This is a sneaking integration of the Ukraine into NATO structures without the formal guarantees.

In late 2021 the U.S. started to make noise about alleged Russian military concentrations at its western border. There were groundless allegations that Russia was threatening to invade the Ukraine which was begging to enter NATO. The purpose was to justify a further extension of NATO and more NATO deployments near Russia.

Russia has had enough of such nonsense. It moved to press the U.S. for a new security architecture in Europe that would not threaten Russia. The rumors about Russian action in the Ukraine helped to press President Joe Biden into agreeing to talks.

After Russia had detailed its security demands towards the U.S. and NATO a series of talks were held.

I had warned that these would likely not be successful as the U.S. had shown no signs to move on core Russian demands. As expected the talks with the U.S. on Monday failed. The U.S. made some remarks that it would like to negotiate some side issues but not on the core of Russia's request to end the extension of NATO and to stop new missile deployments.

Wednesday's talks with NATO had similar results as had today's talks with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

As Russia had previously announced it will not consider further talks as there is nothing to expect from them:

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said he saw “no grounds” to continue the talks, in a blow to the efforts to ease tensions. His comments came as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe met in Vienna in the latest attempt to avert a major European crisis as Russia masses troops on Ukraine’s border.

Speaking on Russian television, Ryabkov said the United States and its allies have rejected Russia’s key demands — including its call for an end to NATO’s open-door policy for new members — offering to negotiate only on topics of secondary interest to Moscow.

“There is, to a certain extent, a dead end or a difference in approaches,” he said. Without some sign of flexibility from the United States, “I do not see reasons to sit down in the coming days, to gather again and start these same discussions.”

Other Russian government officials made similar points:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who described the Western position as “arrogant, unyielding and uncompromising,” said that President Vladimir Putin would decide on further action after receiving written responses to Moscow’s demands next week.
In addition to calling the talks unsuccessful, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday highlighted a bill announced the day before by U.S. Democratic senators for tough new sanctions against Russians, including Putin, if there is military action against Ukraine.

Peskov called it “extremely negative, especially against the background of the ongoing series of negotiations, albeit unsuccessful, but negotiations.” Sanctioning a head of state “is an outrageous measure that is comparable to breaking off relations,” he said.

Peskov also accused the United States and NATO of escalating the conflict with efforts to “entice” new countries to join NATO.

Peskov's last remarks relate to recent noise from Finland and Sweden that they may consider to join NATO.

The U.S. had promised to send a written response to Russia's demands by next week. NATO has likewise said that it would dispatch a letter  within a week's time frame. If those letters do not include substantial concessions to Russia it will have to act.

The Washington Post piece quoted above is headlined Russia ratchets up pressure on Europe, says ‘no grounds’ for further talks on security amid heightened tensions. The Post tries to frame the issues as an European and NATO problem.

However, Russia does not even talk with Europe as it is no longer relevant. The security demands are made towards the U.S. and the issues can only be solved by the White House.

Russia has spoken of 'military-technical measures' it would have to take should all talks fail.

It has now started to hint at some of the possibilities:

Russia on Thursday sharply raised the stakes in its dispute with the West over Ukraine, with a top diplomat refusing to rule out a Russian military deployment to Cuba and Venezuela if tensions with the United States mount.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who led the Russian delegation in Monday’s talks with the U.S. in Geneva, said in televised remarks that he would “neither confirm nor exclude” the possibility that Russia could send military assets to Cuba and Venezuela if the talks fail and U.S. pressure on Russia mounts.

Russia does not need to station missiles in Cuba but it could request access for its navy to one or more decent harbors in the wider area:

While voicing concern that NATO could potentially use Ukrainian territory for the deployment of missiles capable of reaching Moscow in just five minutes, Putin noted that Russian warships armed with the latest Zircon hypersonic cruise missile would give Russia a similar capability if deployed in neutral waters.

The timing is interesting. As of today Zircon missiles were officially accepted for Russia's military services. Currently there are five Russian navy ships configured to carry these new hypersonic weapons with many more to come:

At this stage the carriers of Zirkon are FFGs pr. 22350 (Admiral Gorshkov-class), pr. 20385 Corvettes and modernized pr. 1155 FFGs, Udaloy-class (see Marshal Shaposhnikov). All in all we can see already at least 5 Zircon carriers afloat in Russia's surface fleet with the number growing to 11 by mid 2020s, which, by that time submarine carriers of Zircon also adding to the number of carriers. Welcome to the new era of the naval warfare. I assume that some of the Karakurts (pr. 22800) and pr. 21631 Buyan class will also be able to carry Zircon or its "smaller" 500 kilometer range version Zircon Llite. And, of course, once completed, Admiral Nakhimov nuclear battlecruiser will carry a shitload of Zircons. We can only guess how many, since among 174 VLS on Nakhimov, 80 will be loaded with anti-surface missiles.
Now, we expect new Vladimir Putin's address to Federal Assembly fairly soon (it was expected, quoting Peskov, "early in 2022"), so will see what other things Putin will be talking about.

That speech will be as interesting as the one in 2018 (vid) during which Putin announced a number of new weapon systems which the U.S. has no way to counter. Expect more of those.

Russia may also deploy new weapons aiming at Europe:

Russia said on Monday it may be forced to deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe in response to what it sees as NATO's plans to do the same.

The warning from Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov raised the risk of a new arms build-up on the continent, with East-West tensions at their worst since the Cold War ended three decades ago.

Ryabkov said Russia would be forced to act if the West declined to join it in a moratorium on intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) in Europe - part of a package of security guarantees it is seeking as the price for defusing the crisis over Ukraine.

Lack of progress towards a political and diplomatic solution would lead Russia to respond in a military way, with military technology, Ryabkov told Russia's RIA news agency.

"That is, it will be a confrontation, this will be the next round," he said, referring to the potential deployment of the missiles by Russia.

Intermediate-range nuclear weapons - those with a range of 500 to 5,500 km (310 to 3,400 miles) - were banned in Europe under a 1987 treaty between then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan in what was hailed at the time as a major easing of Cold War tensions. By 1991, the two sides had destroyed nearly 2,700 of them.

The U.S. is building new missile sites in Poland and Romania. It claims that these are missile defense installations with the same AEGIS combat system type as used on many U.S. warships. The new AEGIS ashore installations are claimed to defend the U.S. against Iranian and North Korean missiles. That is of course bollocks.

The AEGIS systems uses the Mark 41 Vertical Launch System to store and fire its missiles. Those new sides, the U.S. claims, will have air defense missiles in their launch containers. However the same containers can be used to fire nuclear armed Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missiles (TLAMs). It would be very easy for the U.S. to change out the missiles without anyone noticing it.

Tomahawks have a range of 1,550 miles (2.500 km). From Poland and Romania they can reach Moscow and other Russian centers in a short time. The U.S. Defense Department says that the system in Poland will become operational at the end of this year.

At the end of last year the U.S. also reactivated its 56th Artillery Command in Europe:

“It will further enable the synchronization of joint and multinational fires and effects and employment of future long-range surface to surface fires across the [U.S. Army Europe and U.S. Army Africa] area of responsibility,” Maj. Gen. Stephen Maranian, the new unit’s commander, said before the Monday announcement in Wiesbaden, Germany.

The 56th Artillery Command traces its lineage to a Cold War-era unit, the 56th Field Artillery Command, which served as the headquarters for Pershing missile operations in Europe. It was inactivated in June 1991 following the signing four years earlier of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty curbing the use of midrange “tactical” nuclear weapons.

Gen. Christopher Cavoli, the commander of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, called the decision to bring back the 56th Artillery Command, “extremely good news.”

It was clear that Russia would not leave that 'extremely good news' without a response.

It will likely deploy some of its 9M729 cruise missiles (NATO code SSC-8 Screwdriver), currently stationed behind the Ural mountain range, at its western border, in Belarus and in Kaliningrad. These can be nuclear armed and would cover most European capitals and NATO's headquarters.

The whole situation is a completely unnecessary mess. NATO has long lost its cold war capabilities. The European armies are just a shadow of their former selves and the U.S. military has again and again demonstrate its inability to fight. To reject Russia's demands under these circumstance is not only pure arrogance but also idiotic:

On January 12, 2022 — a date that will live in hypocrisy — NATO member states declared their heroic determination to fight to the last Ukrainian. They did this by in effect rejecting Russia’s conditions for agreement with the alliance, centered on the demand that NATO rule out further expansion to Ukraine, Georgia and other former Soviet republics.

The hypocrisy and idiocy — over which historians of the future are likely to shake their heads in bewilderment — lie in the fact that NATO has no real intention of admitting Ukraine, nor of fighting Russia in Ukraine. Both Washington and Brussels have openly ruled this out. Indeed, NATO could not do so even if it wanted to. U.S. forces in Europe are wholly inadequate to the purpose, as are what is left of the British and French armies.

Anatol Lieven, who wrote the above, see some possible compromises. Especially U.S. pressure on the Ukraine to finally make piece with its east:

The United States however now needs to move very fast to offer these compromises. If it does not, then a new war looks increasingly possible. This war would be a disaster for all parties concerned: for NATO, whose military impotence would be cruelly emphasized; for Russia, that would suffer severe economic damage and be forced into a position of dependency on China with grave implications for Russia’s future; and above all for the thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians who would lose their lives. In fact, the only country that would benefit unequivocally from such a war would be China —and I wasn’t aware that U.S. and NATO policies are designed to further the geopolitical aims of Beijing.

NATO's uselessness and lack of real purpose are well known:

The problem is that they have been ingested by two other ambitions that are not modest and rational at all. The first is the U.S. desire for universal hegemony, including the right to dictate other countries’ political systems and what influence they will be allowed to possess beyond their own borders.

The second is the European elites’ belief in the European Union of as a kind of moral superpower, expanding to embrace the whole of Europe (without Russia of course), and setting a liberal internationalist example to the world; but a militarily impotent superpower that relies for security on the United States, via NATO.

These projects have now manifestly failed.
If we can recognize this failure and return to a more modest view of ourselves and our role in the world, we can also abandon the empty and hypocritical false promise of further NATO expansion and seek a reasonably cooperative relationship with Russia. Or we can go on living in our world of make-believe, though make-believe worlds have a way of being shattered by harsh realities.

That is something no one should want.


This week Moon of Alabama is asking you, dear reader, to support this site. Please do so as well as you can.

Posted by b on January 13, 2022 at 17:30 UTC | Permalink

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Francil @98

It struck me as projection too. Flailing indeed.

Posted by: spudski | Jan 14 2022 16:10 utc | 101

"Jan 14 2022 13:36 utc": Error. 'Duck and cover drills' happened before I came to the US. Were definitely not a factor during the Kennedy years. What I remember from that brief period were the excellent press interviews Kennedy gave. He simply took questions as they came, and obviously enjoyed doing so. There have been no equal since, though Lavrov at times can do it without too much deserved wry bitterness. President Kennedy was a master.

Posted by: juliania | Jan 14 2022 16:14 utc | 102

Can we say the orient?

Posted by: Platero | Jan 14 2022 16:15 utc | 103

As others have noted, Ukraine was devolving into a US/NATO armed forward base in spite of Ukraine having no official declaration that it was a NATO member. I am speculating that thee tipping point among all the provocations was the discovery that US/NATO was secretly constructing or bringing in offensive missile systems, among other things.

Could the Russians bomb those sites? Maybe. But I am beginning to entertain the idea that after adequate preparations, Russia will do something to start off those withering sanctions that the US/EU keeps promising. Russia in return will turn off the energy spigot to Europe, US, and its allies. This will cause the economic collapse of the Western world leading to economic depression and massive shortages of food.

Will it hurt Russia? Yes, but the question is whether Russia has become self sufficient enough to weather the collapse. The country can now totally feed itself, keep the lights on, and sell energy to Asia which will overtake Western producers and markets. Russians are pretty tough people but would have to jail all the oligarchs.

Posted by: Erelis | Jan 14 2022 16:37 utc | 104

"To prevent an eventual integration of the Ukraine into NATO Russia arranged for an uprising against the coup in the eastern Ukraine."

This is a conspiracy theory without basis in reality. The Donbass did defend itself in its own initiative and for other reasons than "To prevent an eventual integration of the Ukraine", which was integrated in the first place.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 14 2022 17:05 utc | 105

Made an error yesterday conflating Lavrov's interview on the Great Game programme on Channel One with the presser. Again, here is the interview's Russian transcript with the English one here, Both are complete.

Neither Russian or English transcripts of the presser are complete yet, although the Russian is far more so and is here,

I've yet to read the presser so I can't say yet which is more informative.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 14 2022 17:10 utc | 106

@spudski | Jan 14 2022 15:33 utc | 96

I thought it was their toy only, false flags?
Do you mean others than the US & their minions are allowed to play with them?

Funny how delusional empires end up thinking everyone wants to mimic their worst tricks.

Posted by: Francil | Jan 14 2022 15:43 utc | 98

Yes they do, it goes along with the delusion that everybody wants to be like them.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 14 2022 17:22 utc | 107

When writing “The Netherlands” or “the United States” we capitalize the word to indicate it is a State and not a general location. Review B’s or the Saker articles on the Ukrainian crises and note how often “the ukraine” uncapitalized appears in their writings. No accident. Purim’s objective is clearly to deprive the State of Ukraine the sovereign rights, Putin demand for Russia. As I stated Putin would serve the world far better by supporting ant-imperialist both in the near countries but also in the Empires heartland. Engaging in 19th century great power politics have no place in the 21st century.

Posted by: Zargo | Jan 14 2022 17:27 utc | 108

@karlof1 (39) My apologies for mixing up "neoconservatives" and "neoliberal fascists." But in either case, my point about decapitation strikes stands. They are a fantasy. Where to strike and what comes after cannot be known with precision or certainty.

As for the crooks who arranged for and benefitted from the unprecedented repo loans, if history is a guide, it will be a cold day in hell before any of them suffers for their actions.

Posted by: Rob | Jan 14 2022 17:31 utc | 109

Here's what IMO is the important part of Lavrov's statement prior to taking questions at the presser:

"Everyone understands that the situation is not improving. Conflict potential is accumulating. Western colleagues contribute to a decisive extent to such a negative development of events. They set a course to undermine the architecture of international relations based on the UN Charter. They are pursuing a policy of replacing international law with their own 'rules', on which they want to force everyone to build a new world order. Various 'formats' are being created in the areas of international activity that have long been on the agenda of the universal bodies of the UN system. Duplication occurs. These narrow formats, 'interlocutors', are presented as coalitions of 'advanced workers' dictating new approaches that are 'necessary' for everyone else today. Those who do not join such events are declared retrogrades, countries trying to introduce revisionism into international life. Although, it would seem, revisionism is what the West is doing now. [It] is trying to revise the UN Charter. Russia and other countries, which are our allies and strategic partners, defend the Charter of the Organization, its principles, goals, structure and protect it from revisionism.

"The most odious 'project' took place on December 9-10, 2021 – the 'summit for democracy'. The preparation of this meeting, the event itself, its 'results' proclaimed in Washington are a clear example of the course of our American colleagues on the re-ideologization of international life (from which we recently got rid of) and the creation of new dividing lines.

"The course of the United States and the North Atlantic Alliance is openly proclaimed as a deterrence of the PRC and the Russian Federation. Attempts to artificially expand NATO and draw Ukraine there do not stop. Recently, there were interesting statements from the leadership of the alliance and the United States that the Scandinavian countries that are not members of NATO will be welcomed. Attempts to artificially 'lure' and expand this structure, which lost its raison d'être after the Cold War and the disappearance of the Warsaw Pact, continue."

Lavrov then provides a brief review of Russian foreign policy activity during 2021 before concluding:

"In 2022, we will continue to work in all these areas. We will defend the central role of the UN, the need for strict respect for international law, as it is embodied in universally agreed and adopted documents, without attempts to 'break' it into separate articles and interpret them in favor of only one group of countries." [My Emphasis]

The questions commence from here.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 14 2022 17:31 utc | 110

I want to thank b for information he provides on important events, processes and issues. I know where I can go to understand better what is actually happening. This discussion has been one of the more valuable and constructive both in approach and informativeness. Thank you all.

Let's read Lavrov together with Nualnd:

I am going to quote Ryabkov: Stunning!

Posted by: JB | Jan 14 2022 17:42 utc | 111

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 14 2022 17:10 utc | 106

Today’s presser was more like a year review of the FM activities, with no breaking news really as many were expecting after the official talks with the three different “partners”, the USA, NATO, and OSCE.

My impression, the ball is in the US court and Russia is expecting a formal document with their position concerning the basis of Russia’s claim, the documents that regulate Russia-NATO relations from 1997 on. Very hard words for the EU, asked about Borrell claiming that EU security should not be discussed without their presence Lavrov said that first they should ask permission from Washington, in other words the EU is totally dismissed as an “agreement capable” partner, once again remarked when Kommersant correspondent asked Lavrov how come last year he used the KamaSutra as a figure of speech and now he talks about impotence, Lavrov remarked that he was talking about the EU.

I doubt very much that Cuba or Venezuela will be involved in the possible military answer even though that possibility as any other should not be discarded. I’m listening now to the last twenty minutes of a very long presser. Russia's answer will be totally unexpected in time, place and form, my humble opinion, there is not going to be a big bang, but the direction is clear, the US options are narrowing, Eurasia’s are widening.

Posted by: Paco | Jan 14 2022 17:47 utc | 112

Posted by: Jen | Jan 13 2022 23:32 utc | 53

Posted by: Jen | Jan 13 2022 23:32 utc | 53

Good point, Jen. I remember publicly reported, at one stage, vans arriving from Russia after the fact, loaded with provisions for the beseiged citizens. Previous to that preliminary incursions were filmed by pedestrians of attacking vehicles rushing onto civilian streets, bystanders assassinated, buildings burned...and then the conflict beginning in earnest between those already in residence and troops attempting conquest from western regions of Ukraine. Any citizens of the area who fled were going to Russia.

Russia would prefer having a friendly Ukraine on its border. The former's actions thus far have been to avoid a complete disruption of that nation's sovereignty.

Posted by: juliania | Jan 14 2022 17:51 utc | 113

Paco @112--

Thanks for your synopsis! The presser's format is to review Russia's foreign affairs during 2021 while hinting at what 2022 holds in store. Based on your synopsis, the interview with Channel 1 was more informative as to what Russia expects from the talks--formal answers in writing to be obtained within a week, well before Putin goes to China to meet with Xi and attend the Olympics. Indeed, we might not see the next move until after Putin returns to Russia. I won't get to the Q&A until later since I have errands to accomplish. Hopefully by then the transcript will be complete.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 14 2022 18:01 utc | 114

Yes they do, it goes along with the delusion that everybody wants to be like them. - Bemildred @107

This is a bit of a stretch but ...

"Everybody Wants to Be Like You" is a song by Canadian pop/reggae singer Snow

"But everybody wants to be like you
And it all boils down and all this ends
You turn around and you got no friends
But everybody wants to be like you"

Posted by: spudski | Jan 14 2022 18:19 utc | 115

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 14 2022 17:10 utc | 106

karlof1, thank you for posting at length on these issues. I did go to my own translations available through Google of both, not being conversant in Russian (got to remedy that!)

The interview was fairly ok, apart from a couple of obvious huge glitch areas in second and third parts. But I have to say the press conference does not make sense from the getgo, so I have given up on that. Obvious gaps that confuse which party is being spoken of, and rather than attempt to untangle, best to wait for accurate details. Sorry.

The gist as I gather is that further 'response' from the US is to ramp up suggestions they will ignore Russia's three points -- invitations extended to other nations to join Nato. I don't know if these correspond to Lavrov's red line of US action, would think it's getting pretty close to doing so.

Thanks again to b for this excellent forum!

Posted by: juliania | Jan 14 2022 18:19 utc | 116

Thank You b
may I offer this apt accapella so befitting this post

Posted by: ld | Jan 14 2022 18:25 utc | 117

Posted by: JB | Jan 14 2022 17:42 utc | 111

Thanks for that link.

These kind of deployments, hundred thousand troops out of barracks and on the Ukrainian border are extremely expensive, as is the deployment of this kind of weaponry in the cold winter,

NATO is a defensive alliance. It is about defending its members against any potential attack. It is not in the attack business itself.

Stunning indeed. Extremely expensive so that's why US deployments are in Spain, Italy, and now going to Africa chasing sunny weather so as not to splurge on US tax payers dollars. I mean, it looks and sounds like a B movie, addressing the speaker as "Toria", well yeah like we are having some beers at some pub, or talking about not being in the “attack business” after all the venues destroyed by that "defensive" alliance, stunned I am, how can these guys lie so easily, it is a parallel universe they inhabit.

Posted by: Paco | Jan 14 2022 18:42 utc | 118

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 13 2022 22:07 utc | 39

From the link at the very end of @39:

Dimitri Simes:

" .. perhaps Russia understands that it will not be possible to reach an agreement, but it simply decided to try, and then it will do what it wants to do in Ukraine anyway. Do you have any hope for the success of the negotiations? "

Sergei Lavrov:

" We are always working on specific tasks. “Young men are fed with hope,” and we are already more mature people. Get used to the harsh reality. It lies in the fact that we are promised a written response. We will wait for it and then we will determine our next steps.

As for optimism, we have this proverb: 'What is a pessimist? A pessimist is a well-informed optimist.' "

Posted by: gales | Jan 14 2022 18:44 utc | 119

@ Posted by: c1ue | Jan 14 2022 2:41 utc | 71

After Operation Gladio was exposed the European Parliament passed a resolution requiring states to investigate "secret armies" operating on their territory. Italy, Belgium, and Switzerland were the only 3 states to perform such inquiries.

The Swiss inquiry found that British intelligence secretly cooperated with their army in an operation named P-26 and provided training in combat, communications, and sabotage. It also discovered that P-26 not only would organize resistance in case of a Soviet invasion, but would also become active should the left succeed in achieving a parliamentary majority.

Given such a blatant attempt to undermine democratic choice and its exposure I suspect alternate means to the same end were devised among them "grooming" and financial support of politicians (Quislings and satraps), and honey pot operations such as that rumoured to have been run by Epstein to remove those less co-operative.

I believe Stoltenberg to be the exposed tip of a rotten iceberg which remains hidden from public view below the surface.

This is of course speculation of my part but it serves to explain why the NATO nations remain so blasé with respect to a potential kinetic conflict. A realist would reflect on America's repeated interference in other states affairs, its willingness to use military force, the historic failings and inadequacy of that force, with America repeatedly defaulting on its commitments. America operates on principle of America First and beggars take the hindmost; the satraps are indifferent to this reality.

I agree with you the extension of the present into the future is no longer possible. I would not be surprised to learn of an explosion on the Ukrainian NG transit lines with this being blamed on Russia.
I view the US as being on the horns of a dilemma. They will be unable to maintain hegemonic control without a demonstration of force. Use of force will likely cause Russia to seek its future in Eurasia. The resulting financial shocks will undermine the USD as world reserve currency, and the American people will be in a world of self inflicted hurt.

I find it remarkable that the most cogent reporting on incipient WW3 derives from the work of a single individual. Kudos to b.

Posted by: Sushi | Jan 14 2022 19:05 utc | 120

"Everybody Wants to Be Like You" is a song by Canadian pop/reggae singer Snow

"But everybody wants to be like you
And it all boils down and all this ends
You turn around and you got no friends
But everybody wants to be like you"

Posted by: spudski | Jan 14 2022 18:19 utc | 115

Not bad, but, I nominate Carly Simon, "You're So Vain".

And seriously, one of the most prevalent delusions of the filthy rich is that everybody else wants to be like them.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 14 2022 19:12 utc | 121

I am going to quote Ryabkov: Stunning!

Posted by: JB | Jan 14 2022 17:42 utc | 111

That's hilarious. She looks a little overweight, must be under a lot of stress.

"It's all the Russians, see, we're no threat to anybody, right?"

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 14 2022 19:19 utc | 122

I've been wondering whether this could be the Suez Canal moment for the US. In whichever way Russia decides to escalate, short of a full scale war, it will be something that the USA find it difficult to counteract. At that moment the emperor will be revealed as wearing no clothes. Or maybe the rest of the world has noticed this already. Europe has been very quiet throughout this whole diplomatic tussle. Germany seems to be laying the groundwork for getting North stream 2 after all. French presidential envoy is visiting China as of now, and agreeing to oppose 'politicization of sports'.

I think we are on the cusp of major changes.

Posted by: Cindy6 | Jan 14 2022 20:14 utc | 123

Bemildred @122--

That's a good choice. I nominate Billy Joel's "Matter of Trust."

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 14 2022 23:09 utc | 124

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 14 2022 23:09 utc | 124

Yes, that's another. Billy has a couple good anthems. Ani DiFranco's "Napoleon". An eternal theme, it is.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 14 2022 23:40 utc | 125

Just read the first presser Q&A, and it's likely the most important answer Lavrov will provide. IMO, it's vital for all to read and understand it:

"Question: You have already spoken about the outcome of the talks concerning Russian proposals on security guarantees in Brussels and Geneva. We are now waiting for formal answers, from the United States next week, and from NATO, within a week. At the same time, we can see that our partners are critical and sometimes overtly negative about the provisions that are important to us. What actions will Russia take if the US and NATO reject the proposals?

"Sergey Lavrov: We are waiting for a written response. We have reason to believe that our partners have realised the need to do this quickly, with specificity, and in writing. We won’t wait forever. There are plans to drag out this process. Frankly, everyone knows that reaching an agreement depends on the United States. Whatever they are telling us about the need to consult with their allies and involve all OSCE members in the talks, those are excuses and attempts to drag out the process.

"When Russia and NATO were establishing relations, when they signed the Founding Act and reached a decision to establish the Russia-NATO Council – Moscow and the North Atlantic Alliance reached some political agreements in the process, which had to do with how we would behave in terms of the configuration of armed forces and weapons going forward – no one had to be consulted. It never occurred to anyone. Neither with the OSCE, nor with the European Union, which now gets bitter whenever it feels left out (as conveyed by Josep Borrell). This is a whole new topic for discussion.

"We want to see their position on paper, to get a specific comment on each of our points in both documents – which of them are acceptable, which aren’t and why. If something needs to be added, they could formulate amendments.

"You have mentioned something that tops the headlines across the media – the Western reaction has consisted primarily of a categorical rejection of ending NATO’s open door policy. But Russia is not bound by any agreements within NATO. We, the Americans, Europeans, NATO members, and neutral states, are firmly bound by agreements and political commitments within the OSCE framework. In this context, OSCE provides us with a legal framework solely because in the 1990s, an agreement was reached to the effect that undermining indivisible European security and strengthening one’s own security at the expense of others is unacceptable. Those documents (in particular, the Charter for European Security signed at the highest level in 1999 in Istanbul) contain three components. Everyone shared them and signed off on them.

"The first of them, which the West loves talking about now, is the right to freely choose how to ensure one’s own security, including treaties of alliance. After all, these documents say that each state has the right to be neutral. This should not be forgotten, either. Then follows a paragraph that is an inalienable part of this compromise, notably, the agreement binding each state to respect the rights of other countries and not to bolster its own security at the expense of the security of others. There is a special stipulation that no single state, group of countries or organisation can be primarily responsible for the maintenance of peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region and cannot view any part of it as a sphere of its influence.

"Pocketing the first part of this inseparable package (the right of each state to choose alliances), our US and NATO colleagues then try to cross out all the rest, without which the first part is invalid. We are not bound by this norm (respect for the right to choose alliances) if it is applied in flagrant violation of the other parts of this inseparable package. We have explained this in sufficient detail. Now we are awaiting responses in writing, after which this issue will move to the fore if it becomes clear that it makes sense to resume the talks.

"We will insist that our partners clarify how they view their commitments, especially those adopted at top level. If our proposals are rejected, we will evaluate the situation and report to President of Russia Vladimir Putin. He said at the annual news conference that we will make decisions with due account of all factors, primarily in the interests of reliably ensuring our security. I am not going to engage in any of the guesswork that our partners attempt. I consider it counterproductive. It is important for us to receive a detailed response or counterproposals on the issues raised in our documents. These issues are key to preventing negative developments in our common region – in Europe. The response of our colleagues will show us how serious they are.

"The chief US negotiator in Geneva, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, said in an interview that it was more about evaluating positions rather than talks. This is telling. We arrived at these talks with the positions that we formulated in writing a month before the meeting in Geneva. During this month, the Americans failed to study our proposals in order to arrive at a specific position. They limited themselves to questions and verbal explanations. We are past that stage." [My Emphasis]

Again, here's the Charter for European Security I linked to yesterday. It's the Sin Qua Non as Lavrov continually points out--the Higher Law that the Outlaw US Empire would like to ignore or only selectively apply. But as with the UN Charter, that isn't how things go regarding International Law. Many times I believe the best course of action is for China, Russia, and however many other nations want to join them to jointly declare the USA to be a Pirate or Outlaw nation in complete violation of International Law that must be 100% contained until it pledges to cease its illegal behavior; and as a penalty, it should have all its overseas assets confiscated and distributed to those nations it most abused. Yeah, I know, another pipedream. But I don't think I'm the only person on the planet that holds that view.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 15 2022 0:33 utc | 126

I'll note that even now at 1700 PST the English transcript of Larov's presser is still incomplete as it only provides 1/3 of the presser. What I've read tells me it remains important to try and digest it all. There's an important interaction between Lavrov and a NATO-nation journo that tests Lavrov's patience and tact that's available in English.

At least we can relax and enjoy the weekend while we await the Outlaw US Empire's answers. I'm very pleased that Russia has taken this bull by the horns after being patient for 20+ years. Ya Basta!!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 15 2022 1:02 utc | 127


It was standard English usage to refer to 'the Ukraine' until relatively recently. English speakers of my age therefore regard the change to 'Ukraine' as being the politically motivated choice, not vice-versa. B is simply using English as it was until recently -- the way I would still use it myself, naturally, as I was taught.

Oh yeah, and most of us still use 'Kiev', for the same reason, if you want something else unimportant to go on about.

Posted by: Herr Ringbone | Jan 15 2022 2:30 utc | 128

I'm going to make a prediction that Russian "ultimatum" was just a prelude to the combat deployment of "Poseidon" fleet. Five giant subs carrying these nightmarish weapons are to be built by 2027 (the first one is about to be commissioned, if not done so already), and Putin's offer looks to me as a last-ditch effort to get Washington to realize that the huge gun will soon be pointed not to Ukraine's head but to its own. Ryabkov mentioned that it could be the Navy that will provide bulk of "military-technical" response, and Moscow also implied that it'll now strive to make America feel as insecure as anyone in this world. Poseidon - massive multi-megaton nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered drone - suits both criteria nicely. This system is a game changer.
Once all five of carrier submarines are commissioned, three will probably be at sea at any given time. One will be patrolling US East Coast, another the Western seaboard, and the third with circle around the UK.
If I was a western strategist, I'd take any reasonable bid from Russia to make sure that these things never report to duty.

Posted by: Venom | Jan 15 2022 2:42 utc | 129

How many meetings did Biden have with Putin in 2021?
They accomplish nothing yet they still keep going with it anyway, the definition of insanity.

Posted by: Smith | Jan 15 2022 3:01 utc | 130

The good, the bad (and the ugly).
The Good: Concerning Ukraine, US and Russia have one very strong common interest: Avoiding escalation to use of nukes. It seems that they have made a deal in the backroom, and given it a kind of confirmation in a recent - little talked about - UN document. Good for all of us!

The Bad: Now that the 2 parts feel relatively secure from homeland destruction, the war (over NATO expansion etc) is more likely to happen. Russia will be hit badly in many ways, but will survive. On the battlefield itself they will probably be unstoppable. Worst for the neighbouhood, but OTOH the expected damage to Ukraine, Balticum etc will be largely self-inflicted, in principle. Long term consequences: Impossible to say, but Russian advantage rather probable.
The Ugly: When the crazy russophobes discover what has happened, they will feel utterly let down, and be furious. They had expected the US/NATO to destroy Russia in some way or other, with nothing else occupying their mind...

Posted by: Cunctator | Jan 15 2022 9:21 utc | 131

karlof1 | Jan 15 2022 0:33 utc | 126

It seems the overall strategy of the Russians is "you signed it, now do it" to the US, as in your 126;

"the Charter for European Security signed at the highest level in 1999 in Istanbul." (Or Minsk for Zelensky)

So we will have to see if the US suddenly becomes agreement capable. Have a nice weekend.

General notes; A Russian submarine with 16 bulava missiles was seen off the west coast of the US, and a bomber was off Jamaica (Probably visiting Cuba), plus Tu-22MZ out of Syria (for the med). All just saying hello obviously.

There is even a photo now circulating of Maduro shaking the hand of a recently elected opposition figure after the Maduro candidate was beaten.

Just an indication who are the real owners, with assets "under management" worth ten trillion dollars.

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 15 2022 10:18 utc | 132


To prevent an eventual integration of the Ukraine into NATO Russia arranged for an uprising against the coup in the eastern Ukraine.

This is ridiculous! As I well remember, "President" Poroshenko sent the NAZI gangs that supported his (and the US's) coup, to attack the two provinces which refused to recognize his regime as a legitimate government, with public instructions to HANG anyone who would not recognize him as president and/or spoke Russian. This was not an "arrangement by the Russians", but it must have been a considerable incentive to the inhabitants of the two provinces to revolt!

Posted by: foolisholdman | Jan 15 2022 11:31 utc | 133

Absolutely off topic. Or maybe not. This morning I took a ride and drove past a small town on the foothills of a beautiful looking sierra. As I was slowly driving through the main street I realized there is a restaurant called “Alice’s” that no doubt belongs to someone among the numerous British expat community that left the Island to be closer to the sun and to the Med. Well, that was it, the melody stuck in my head and all the way back I could not stop with the refrain “You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant, pom pom pom pom.”

When I got to my destination I told my friend, who is planning to travel and picked up learning English at a late stage in her life, I did not know that in the town of N. there is a place called Alice’s, one of these days I’m going to stop and on my way in I’ll sing -modesty apart I don’t do it too bad- “You can get…. pom pom pom pom”. From there on I explained the heavy load of being someone’s son, as is the case with Arlo son of the Great Depression greatest bard Woody Guthrie, told her to check out the lyrics of his best known song “This Land is Your Land” and the sticker on his guitar, “This machine kills fascists”, that’ll generate a lot more interest in her than a grammar lesson.

Back to Arlo, there is another song that I really like, the one he sang in Woodstock back in ’69, so we watched the clip on the tube loving the way he pronounces Los Angeleeeees, an good heavens, I learn something every day, in the clip a guy makes for himself a nice looking pipe out of tin foil, what a lesson now that some University study says that cannabis takes the spike off the beast.

To make the story short, my pupil who is an elementary school teacher said after watching Arlo perform in Woodstock: geez, youth was alive back then. Yes, alive until the ones that smoked but not inhaled made it to the top. The moral of my short story, not everything is bad in the imperial USA, there was a time when the whole world was watching and admiring, until the fakes that did not inhale made it to the top.

Posted by: Paco | Jan 15 2022 12:03 utc | 134

Earlier today, A Violent missile attack on a Turkish base in Bashiqa, Mosul Governorate.
Three 122mm Grad rockets targeted the Turkish occupation forces at the Zlikan base in the Mosul governorate.- AzadNews

Posted by: financial matters | Jan 15 2022 12:52 utc | 135

RE: Posted by: NotEuclid | Jan 14 2022 11:24 utc | 83

“Ukraine was only ever a vector of convenience and in Operation Rollback's 1954 programme some wondered What ever happened to Stepan Bandera since it happened in Munich - who helped the set-up? “

Pondering repeating the role “Ukrainan insurgents” enjoyed in the decade 1944 to 1954, with the added bonus of culling of even more albatrosses, including unemployed folks back home, this time?

“Friendship and respect” where every “friend” is a food source, a human shield, and a sacrificial lamb because “It was worth it ?”

Posted by: NotEuclid | Jan 15 2022 14:05 utc | 136

Keith Granger | Jan 13 2022 20:56 utc | 27

So the US will give Russia the guarantees it is looking for on NATO, and fuck the EU, as Nuland put it.

Russia will be brought more and more into the US orbit, and away from China ...

You must think the Russians awfully simple-minded! Russia, China and Iran know with rock-solid certainty, that if one of them is knocked out of contention, the others will follow soon enough. Besides; the "better than an alliance" relationship between Russia and China means, that China does not have to worry about an attack from the West and Russia does not have to worry about an attack from the East. The BRI and the growing network of railways, means that the USA cannot blockade the trade between the Russians and the Chinese. The economies of the Chinese and the Russians are to a very large extent complementary. There is also an agreement that any US military action on Taiwan will be the signal for Military action on Ukraine and v.v.

Also, Putin has said that an attack on any of Russia's allies will be regarded as an attack on Russia. Then three months later in Israel, he spoke of Iran as an ally. Unlike the US, Russia has no tradition of going back on treaties.

So, no, I don't think so.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Jan 15 2022 15:35 utc | 137

Zargo | Jan 14 2022 13:30 utc | 88

B clearly has adopted the language of Imperial Russia through his constant reference to “the Ukraine”.

B clearly has adopted the language of Imperial Russia through his constant reference to “the Ukraine”. We do not call the Russian Federation “the Russia”. B uses language as he does to deny Ukrainians the right to their own nation. “the ukraine” refers to the historic borderlands that separated orthodox and Catholic cultures. “the ukraine” ceased to exist over 200 years ago when the Cossack lords accepted the Czars privileges.

My understanding of the Russian language is, ehhem, limited to say the least; but as I understand it, Russian has no definite article, no "the" IOW. So how does/did any Russian Imperialist, speak of "the Ukraine"? In English?

Please pardon my bluntness, when I say that this contribution strikes me as paranoid nit-picking.
Are you by any chance Ukrainian?

Posted by: foolisholdman | Jan 15 2022 17:36 utc | 138

spudski | Jan 14 2022 15:33 utc | 96

Just now CNN quoted an "American official" as saying that Russia was planning a false flag attack to justify an invasion of Ukraine.

I hope the Russian or the intelligence services of the East Ukrainian republics are ready to arrest the perpetrators of the NATO falseflag op! Projection is the rule with the US.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Jan 15 2022 18:01 utc | 139

Paco @134--

Nice little road trip you took! Beware, and read the article about cannabis and Covid--it needs to be unsmoked to function as a medicinal. Also, tinfoil pipes do function, but they emit aluminum oxide when torched with a lighter; same with aluminum cans. Back in the day we used to get Moroccan blond hash @$80-100/oz to use with those pipes.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 15 2022 21:52 utc | 140

//In fact, the only country that would benefit unequivocally from such a war would be China —and I wasn’t aware that U.S. and NATO policies are designed to further the geopolitical aims of Beijing.//

Hardly. China knows that if Russia is defeated it will be the US Empire's very next target.

Posted by: Bevin | Jan 16 2022 2:43 utc | 141

In response to foolisholdman@138,

You're right. It's an anglophone (among others, presumably) peculiarity, applicable to any state where the name denotes some artificial/political rather than ethnic formation; the USSR, the DPRK, the USA, the Czech Republic and, as mentioned, the Russian federation. I don't want to presume, but I believe your interlocutor is offended because it clashes with his or her ideas of the historical precedence of the Ukrainian ethnicity and/or Ukrainian ethnostate.

As for Ukraine in imperialist Russian terms, there's no "the" -- there's "at" which is what the U or O stands for. It really could be U Kraine as two separate words, implying a place that's close to or at the border but not the demarcation itself. Ukraine is a fitting name for one's back yard, but a very demeaning one for a state. Much more so than Russia Minor or Malorussia, which during various times in history also worked as the collective title for the various Slavic ethnic groups residing there, but which modern (West)Ukrainians categorically reject as imperialist and chauvinistic, preferring to be known as the "people who live at the edge of someone's back yard." To each their own I guess.

Posted by: Skiffer | Jan 16 2022 3:37 utc | 142

As a side-note, Ukrainians also give Russian-speakers a hard time over them saying "on" Ukraine rather than "in" Ukraine, the former being grammatically correct in regards to the meaning of the word and therefore more natural to say. In a way, they were pioneers in the relatively modern art-form of queer-gender pronouns and speech-policing.

Posted by: Skiffer | Jan 16 2022 3:59 utc | 143

Re: Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 14 2022 4:12 utc | 73

That's all very well Don, but do you really think Western Media will allow a simple Russian narrative to be repeated ad nauseam in the West to establish a coherent and easy-to-remember Russian narrative on what is going on?!?!?

Surely you jest Don. Surely you jest. That would never be allowed to happen.

Did you miss MH17 and the simple Russian narrative after MH17?

Posted by: Julian | Jan 16 2022 12:24 utc | 144

A Russian response.

If I was Russia, the countries I would look at firstly for some sort of kinetic response would be the following: Syria (al-Tanf et al or Idlib etc.), Libya (anti-Russian backed forces), Iraq (numerous targets), or perhaps somewhere in Yemen - aren't there UAE forces there for instance? But probably Syria, Libya or Iraq at the top of the list.

Targets in Syria or Iraq would also have the benefit of potentially drawing Iran in on Russia's side for instance.

Asymmetric warfare I believe it is.

What are US forces doing in Al-Tanf anyway?

It would also emphasise the global nature of any confrontation.

Posted by: Julian | Jan 16 2022 12:32 utc | 145

Aaron Mate on point as always (re. Russia/Ukraine conflict):

Also discussing Trump and control others.

Posted by: jared | Jan 16 2022 14:53 utc | 146

To ironforge@9

Sorry, but nobody's buying. We all know here that there are no Bad Guys with black hats and beards. There is, however, Bad Capital.

Please go and sell your merchandise on another street.

Posted by: Gene Poole | Jan 19 2022 12:40 utc | 147

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